Review: Purposeful Sexuality

Review: Purposeful Sexuality

Purposeful Sexuality
Published: 2021-03-23
Page Count: 80
With refreshing honesty and clarity, Ed Shaw calls on the church to rediscover its confidence in the Bible's teaching about our ability to experience or express sexual feelings. He points us to how God's word reveals that sexuality's ultimate purpose is to help us better know God and the full power of his passionate love

Ed writes a short introduction to the topic of human sexuality. He shares how he was led to radically rethink his views after reading John Piper’s Sex and the Supremacy of Christ. Ed presents a compelling case for why this is such a fraught topic, and how we should think about sexuality primarily through the lens of purpose. Once we understand the purpose of sexuality, we’ll make sense of much of the messiness and difficulty we feel on the subject.

Who wrote it

Ed Shaw is an author and pastor in the UK. He is same-sex attracted and has spoken and written widely on the topic.

Why I read it

Last this year, I’ll be preaching a sermon series on identity and sexuality. I’ve already read a fair few books in preparation and I’ll be reading a lot more on the subject. So far, I’ve struggled to find someone who has clearly and simply articulated a theology of human sexuality in its broadest sense.

What I liked

In many ways, this was exactly the book I was looking for: a concise exploration on human sexuality that didn’t narrow the topic down to only marriage or sexual intimacy. I loved the brevity of the book. I appreciated his balance of personal story and theological reflection. He sought to answer the key question I had, and had a good crack at answering it.

I especially appreciated the way he unpacked our challenges on the topic. We all have damaged sexualities, and we all have sexualities that are damaging to others. Virtually every one of us is both a victim and victimizer, to varying degrees.

He has some really insightful critiques about some of the classic approaches of Bible teaching on sexuality. I share Ed’s experience (and perhaps have been guilty myself of this in the past) that we’ve tended focus on the rules – what we can and can’t do – rather than begin at purpose.

What I didn’t

Initially, I felt like his argument made sense, but was perhaps a little underwhelming. As I’ve had time to process a bit more, there is no flaw to his argument that I can see. In the context of why I read this, I felt it maybe doesn’t pack quite the punch for someone who is more sceptical of the Christian faith. It’s hard to say that’s a flaw in the book though – it’s not particularly his target audience.

Maybe I’m just lamenting that I have to do the hard work here to take that last step myself.

Major Takeaway

Why are we sexual beings? To enable us to fully grasp the depths of God’s passionate love for us.

If I were not a sexual being, if I didn’t feel sexual passion and pain, I wouldn’t be able to feel the full intensity of his passionate and painful love for me.

I also really appreciated some of his critiques on the path that secular culture has walked down. For example:

The sexual revolution that was supposed to free women from being treated as sexual objects in the home has too often given men the cultural freedom to treat women like sexual objects everywhere else as well.

Who should read it

This was a great book, short and easy to read. For an introduction to the topic, it’s an excellent one, and worthy of being read widely.

2.8Overall Score

Purposeful Sexuality

Ed writes a short introduction to the topic of human sexuality. He shares how he was led to radically rethink his views after reading John Piper's Sex and the Supremacy of Christ. Ed presents a ...

  • Difficulty to read
    Short and very easy.
  • Overall Rating
    A great book and well worth a read,

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